Success Of Raptors Boosts Canada's Appetite For NBA Basketball
The Raptors have "captured the minds and spirit" of sports fans across Canada during their playoff run, and in the process have "certainly helped raise" the NBA’s profile there, according to Dave Zarum of SPORTSNET.ca Even more, the league has "seen tremendous growth among fans" in Canada throughout the entire '18-19 season. NBA Canada Managing Dir Dan MacKenzie said, “What we’ve seen this year is that the Raptors success on the court really has translated to the metrics that we track." On TV, aided by a "unique media arrangement that ultimately sees each and every Raptors game broadcast to a national audience, viewership was up considerably this season compared to years past." However, it is "not just Raptors games that have seen a rise," as ratings for NBA games overall were up 29% in '18-19. NBA merchandise sales are also up 26% during that span, while sponsorship activations increased 40%. The NBA "boasts a growing number of emerging Canadian stars," and the "tremendous growth of the Raptors’ fanbase, brought on by the combination of all-star talent and at least five years now of winning basketball, is a monumental factor" (SPORTSNET.ca, 5/21).